San Diego Padres: Joey Lucchesi Impressive Against New York Mets
By Nick Stevens
On Monday night, the San Diego Padres defeated the New York Mets, behind an impressive performance by Joey Lucchesi.
Monday night was exactly what Joey Lucceshi needed. The San Diego Padres rookie took the mound at Citi Field against a disastrous Mets’ franchise and gave his team a solid outing, on the road.
Lucchesi burst onto the scene to begin the season but was hit hard through the month of May, before finding himself on the disabled list with a hip strain. Outside of a tough performance against the Oakland A’s in his return from the DL, Lucchesi proved nearly unhittable through the month of June (.139 average). Unfortunately, his control left much to be desired (eight walks in 10.2 innings).
The month of July has been a fantastic month for the rookie, highlighted by his start last night in New York.
He’s made just three starts but has issued only two walks in 14.2 innings. Lucchesi has also yet to surrender a home run this month, after giving up 10 in his first 12 starts of the year. The strikeout rate is nearly 10 strikeouts/9 innings, with Lucchesi throwing 7.5 strikeouts for every walk in July.
Across 5 1/3 innings in New York, Lucchesi gave up two earned runs on six hits, did not walk a single batter, and struck out six. Of his 89 pitches, 60 landed for strikes.
This coming off an All-Star break start for the AAA El Paso Chihuahuas. Lucchesi failed to make it out of the third inning, giving up seven earned runs on seven hits in the process. He also walked four.
As I’ve mentioned numerous times already, every single player on this roster (outside of Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers) is auditioning for a role on next year’s team. Lucchesi’s audition is going extremely well.
Last night, we saw Lucchesi execute something he’s struggled with in the past. His bread-and-butter is that high “churve” pitch that gets hitters swinging, however, he has struggled to pinpoint his fastball. He did a fantastic job of that against the Mets, throwing his fastball to both parts of the plate and changing eye levels with the pitch. After throwing his fastball across the zone, the churve became an even more effective pitch.
Lucchesi didn’t go into Citi Field and “outduel” Jacob deGrom (8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K) but Lucchesi wasn’t phased. As bad as the Mets are and as empty as their stadium was, they are still a major league franchise with major league hitters.
Are Austin Hedges or Hunter Renfroe pieces of the “2020 or 2021 run” that the Padres front office continues to push out? TBD. On the other hand, Joey Lucchesi continues to carve out his role, both present and future, with the franchise.
Next: Mets/Padres Series Preview
His next scheduled start is at Petco Park against the Arizona Diamondbacks (July 29th).